Beltway Insider: Budget Deadlock; Obama Hosts Netanyahu; Phone Meet with Iranian President; Diplomats Expelled From Venezuela

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President Obama continued to push his foreign policy agenda as the government prepared for a financial showdown with House Republicans refusing to pass a budget that would include implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, stayed steady at 43% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped one percentage point to 49%.

President and House Republicans Deadlocked

President Obama and Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) have spent the week verbally sparring over the failure of the House of Representatives to pass a budget bill before the government shutdown.

The Republican resolution, H.J. Res. 59, that did pass fully funded the United States government with the current sequester spending controls in place through December 15, 2013.

That resolution also delayed the implementation of Obamacare for one year, delayed the medical device tax that would also be implemented under Obamacare. It was defeated in Congress.

“Congress has a responsibility to open the government,” according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Again, Republicans have had ample opportunity to repeal, defund, delay, dismantle, undermine the Affordable Care Act.  Ample opportunity.  And they have taken advantage of that opportunity and voted -- I’ve lost count -- 40-plus times.  Each time, they have not succeeded.  But hope springs eternal, I guess, and they can keep doing it.  But one way to do it, as I think some people wrote about today, is to continue to argue your case, take it to the people, see what they say when they vote in the next election, see what they say when they vote in the next presidential election, and then pass legislation.”

Speaker of the House Boehner can call for a new vote or the next plateau in this deadlock is government default. According to Jack Lew, the Secretary of Treasury, the United States government has until October 17 before a debt ceiling is hit.

“As the President said,” according to Press Secretary Carney, “we’ve had shutdowns in the past in our country, and they have always been about disputes over spending.  And what is unique about this one of course is that this is about an ideological crusade to sabotage a health care law that reduces the deficit and that the Republican Party has no prospect of -- an effort that they have no prospect of succeeding in.”

The press briefings throughout the week have all reflected the current contentious 'my way or the highway' strong arm strategy. This unwavering, single minded, position has been reflected in President Obama’s current foreign policy positions also.

The Syria retaliation was put on hold, after President Obama issued public statements indicating that a strike was imminent, because the United States needed to seek authority through appropriate channels.  The current policy with Iran and also with Venezuela reflects the same righteous indignation.

The President has made it clear he is looking for way to improve the Affordable Health Care Act and yet he is not willing to negotiate on any idea that delays the implementation of the law. 

President Obama is intent on moving ahead with his agenda at the projected pace without taking into consideration the economy, job creation and individual economic recovery haven't performed to expectation. 

President Obama, at the G8, the G20 and at the United Nations General Assembly, stated the economic crisis we have faced was the most damaging to the American people since the great depression.

As recently as last week, President Obama indicated only that the economy is moving. Not the economy has stabilized, not that we have seen a dramatic drop in unemployment or even half those American workers who lost their employment have returned to the workplace.

What he does acknowledge the unemployment is trickling down, slowly, and has yet, in one year since his reelection fallen below 7.0%. For forty months the majority of his first term, unemployment was cemented at 8.0%.

If unemployment were at manageable levels implementing the Affordable Health Care Act would seem feasible.  It would create less a strain for families who are recovering from the financial burdens of long term unemployment to sustain additional, government mandated, expenses.

The Affordable Health Care Act which seems to be the single contentious issue in the passage of any budget will strip income from individuals who may just be returning to full time employment.

Americans who are just gaining ground; Americans who, along with the sequester squeeze, are wondering how will they choose between feeding their family and the healthcare insurance which they must pay or will face financial penalty for non-participation.  

The majority of Americans who are without healthcare are also those who can least afford an additional, government mandated, monthly premium fee.

Allowing Americans who had been long term unemployed, over the past two years, to extend the enrollment deadline one year by creating a rolling admissions for those who are finally gaining some economic traction is not a defeat for the government it is a win for the people.

Delaying the implementation for a year, is not hijacking the system, it is attempting to allow Americans to recover financially, by the President’s own admission in every forum over the last year, from the worst economic recession since the great depression.

“The President has made clear,” stated Carney, “that he is happy and willing, as he has been all year round -- all year long, to engage in serious conversations and negotiations with Republican lawmakers who want to find common ground on our budget challenges -- absolutely willing to.  What he is not willing to do is negotiate under the threat of default, or under the threat of continuing to shut down the government.”

President Obama Hosts Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at White House

Following the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City, President Obama welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House for a bi-lateral meeting.

President Obama confirmed, once again, the United States’ full support of Israel, the security of its people and the continuing strengthening of the allied relationship.

The bi-lateral meeting was meant to engage both leaders in dialogue that would further the commitment to the Israeli peace process and guarantee the continued safety of Israeli citizens.

Discussion between the two leaders focused on the current unrest in the Middle East, Syria, President Abbas, the Palestine authority, Egypt and Iran’s President Rhouhani and Iran’s nuclear arms race.

Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke candidly regarding Iran’s commitment to the destruction of Israel. He also indicated that words, eloquently or sincerely spoken, are meaningless without action behind them.

Both Obama and Netanyahu agreed that the policy going forward would include the commitment to dismantle Iran’s nuclear capabilities and to have this action completed with the full support of the United Nations, and the full knowledge of all nations, compelling Iran to adhere to the decisions agreed upon by the global governing body.

While the hope of the United States is that all nations within the Middle East can co-exist peacefully the first commitment in foreign policy is to Israel. The United States commitment to Israel is strong and remains strong.

The opportunity for all other nations within this volatile region to participate in a peace accord that will bring all nations under the guidance and authority of the United Nations adhering to the commitment, convention, resolutions and charters is present.

Israel, The Palestine Authority and The United States

The longstanding issue of Israel and The Palestine Authority co-existing in peace, took a step forward by each appointing an interdependent negotiator to finally received recognition by the United Nations as state, is now international organizations that all nations support like the neighboring Syria.

Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have both agreed to independent negotiators to address what President Obama stated “has been, obviously, one of the biggest challenges for a very long time in the region.  They have been engaging in serious conversations.  And our goal continues to be to help facilitate -- not dictate, but facilitate -- the kinds of genuine negotiations that will result in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.”

The Palestine Authority, in 1993, after 29 years, was finally recognized by the United Nations as independent state with the conditions they recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace, and rejected all “violence and terrorism.” After these conditions were met Israel recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people.

Syria also was addressed as both stated the United Nations resolution will hopefully lead to the complete destruction of all chemical weapons store by Bashar al-Assad. The chemical weapons have not yet been placed under global authority.

President Obama Meets Via Telephone with Iranian President Rouhani

President Obama announced, this week, he had spoken in a telephone meeting with newly elected Iranian President Rouhani.

The historic conversation, the first since 1979, dealt primarily with issues surrounding, Iran’s access to nuclear arms and the importance of a clear and comprehensive understanding that no nation, including and especially the United States will allow, or wants to see, an nuclear armed Iran.

President Obama, in a released statement, said, “The two of us discussed our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.  I reiterated to President Rouhani what I said in New York -- while there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward, and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.”

President Obama also explained the United States is committed to an ongoing effort with Iran and has directed Secretary of State Kerry along with the P5 + 1 partners, the European Union, The United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China to initiate and continue dialogue with President Rouhani and his delegation.

President Rouhani has also taken steps that appear to be formulated toward the same goals. He has issued a fatwa which prohibits the building of any nuclear arms.

President Obama also said “Resolving this issue, obviously, could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran -- one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.”

 U.S. Diplomats Expelled

Three United States diplomats, including the charge d’affaires, were expelled by the Venezuelan government on charges they attempted to undermine the stability of the Latin American country.

The allegations were immediately met with denial of wrongdoing by the White House as well as an immediate expulsion by the State Department of three Venezuelan diplomats from the United States two in Washington and one in Houston, Texas.

The Venezuelan government indicated the three diplomats were activity engaged in a conspiracy to destabilize the current regime.

“We would like to reach the point where we are able to make progress on areas of mutual interest like counter-narcotics, counterterrorism, and economic and commercial ties,” stated Press Secretary Carney.  “But getting there would require a demonstration of seriousness on the part of the Venezuelan government in Caracas.”

 

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov,

 

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